Bake- Jairazbhoy Chair for Indian Ocean Studies

BAKE- JAIRAZBHOY CHAIR FOR INDIAN OCEAN STUDIES at PSMO College plan to study the recordings of the Dutch Ethnomusicologist Arnold Adriaan Bake Collection archived at the Herb Alpert School of Music. This Ethnomusicological collection, created throughout South Asia from 1926-1939, includes 768 field recordings, 10 hours of silent 16mm film, and over a thousand still photographs. Some of this material was restudied and repatriated by Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy and Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy in 1984. However, although there are rare recordings of Mappila songs in this collection, it has not yet been studied in detail. We have a plan to examine the archival recordings, rerecord the songs with translations into English, and repatriate them back to the Mappila community of Malabar, where the memory of these old songs has been lost. The research activities of the Chair are part of research on the cultural tradition of Indian Ocean World and Mappila songs with a focus on archival recordings.

As a continuation of Arnold Bake’s restudies project, the Department of History, PSMO College conducted a comparative study on Mappila songs between 1926 and 2020 and found a large-scale archival absence of recorded Mappila songs, manuscripts, videos, and. Due to the lack of awareness among the common people, absence of academic interest in these types of songs, and ignorance of preserving techniques, a large number of Mappila songs and manuscripts are now completely lost.

The History Department is able to find a large collection of Mappila song manuscripts, voice recordings, and videos in the archival collection of Dutch ethnomusicologist Arnold Bake. He visited Malabar in 1938 and recorded many songs and performing arts of the Mappila community using recording technology. With the help of Professor Amy Catlin Jairazbhoy, collected a few photos, small videos of stick dance, and the recording versions of a few Mappila songs recorded by Arnold Bake.

The mission of the Chair is to establish documentation and archival centre exclusively for Mappila song and performing arts in order to safeguard severely threatened Mappila traditional songs and to consolidate the attention of eminent scholars working on cultural landscapes of the Indian Ocean World. We are also seeking logistic and technical support from Archives and Research Center for Ethnomusicology (ARCE) for implementing this project. The chair would provide extensive facilities for both recording and playback, and documentation for all recordings related to Mappila songs, and implement the most advanced technologies to disseminate the archival recordings in future. We are already collected the available Mappila songs and manuscripts, especially the songs composed after the 1960s kept within many Mappila families, most of them are now systematically catalogued and translated into English for a wider audience. The Chair plan includes an archival centre along with an audiovisual laboratory dedicated to the students and scholars working on the cultural history of Malabar. A listening room, equipped with high-quality audio and video equipment, will be dedicated to the students and scholars listening and viewing archival material. All available sources will document, catalogue, and translate into English with the help of regional centres like Moyinkuti Vaidyar Mappila Kala Academy. Through the Bake- Jairazbhoy Chair for Indian Ocean Studies we can repatriate hundreds of Mappila songs which are now completely lost in Malabar for scientific study and systematic preservation for the generation to come. We always remember the words of George Bernard Shaw, “we are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future”.

Feel free to contact the director/ Programme Secretary of the chair
Mr Mohamed Haseeb N

Mr Abdul Rahoof Poozithara

Interactions with Chair Professor

January 10,2019

Eminent Scholars Interacted with the Students

January 22,2020